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So Endeavour (ITV) has now sailed off into the sunset, on a sea of Latin, which would have delighted Morse creator Colin Dexter. In a final episode called Exeunt (which translates as “they leave”), the main mystery focused on Oxford dons being done in – are there any left? – with Latin messages announcing their death in the Oxford Mail on the day of their demise, and also on their floral tribute. I couldn’t understand a bit. Ergo, I need to brush up on my Latin.
Endeavour/Morse fans the country over though appreciated the very many nods and winks to this unrivalled franchise which has yielded more than a hundred episodes.
My favourite touch was the revelation that one Blenheim Vale victim had a cousin, a police cadet in Newcastle called Robbie. Lewis, that is.
Writer Russell Lewis – no relation! – knows why we all watch crime dramas, to solve mysteries. Here, more cryptic clues were proffered than a Bank Holiday general knowledge crossword.
There was sadness around every pretty Oxford college corner, too.
Endeavour was never going to find love. He never does. So when the wounded detective turned up late at his former date’s wedding reception, we were treated to a sweet, “what if” fantasy with Joan Thursday — before he actually collapsed in a heap.
Then there was his mentor Fred Thursday.
How was he going to exit this confounded mess? By stabbing to death one of his son’s biker gang assailants.
They (Fred and Morse) would never speak of it again, they resolved before Fred bizarrely turned over his battered hand-gun to Endeavour.
Earlier, Fred had taken a nasty turn in a college quad – almost exactly where Morse had collapsed. We saw that too.
It was an episode that didn’t want to end, a real treat for millions of fans.
In a sequence of final scenes, we decamped to Blenheim Palace, seeing Endeavour walking down the steps, his long shadow behind him.
We then had a synchronised classic Jag crossover on the long drive, as old and young Morse looked into the rear vision mirror at their older and younger selves. Who didn’t shed a tear?
Was this the best Morse episode?
It’s up there with The Remorseful Day, and the great Hugo De Fries Masonic extravaganza.
There are still 16 years of Morse’s life that have yet to be dramatised on TV. I’d watch it.
What could rival such a meticulous drama? Well, Sir David Attenborough can. Wild Isles (BBC One, Sun) could be one of the great man’s best works – and it’s the first time he’s filmed a nature series here. What kept you, Sir David?
Yes, yes, he doesn’t hang out in hutches for two years to film a mating snow leopard, but he does give the whole venture a patina of credibility.
There is a reassuring pattern to these shows. Cue, sweeping drone shots of the Needles, bring in rousing orchestral manoeuvres, then place this legendary TV icon on a windswept cliff edge and – hope the wind stays down.
Just about every species in these wonderful isles, except white van man, was represented in one hour’s television. It was extraordinary.
Surprisingly, we kicked off with a graceful pod of orcas. They kept quiet – which indeed is one of their qualities – as they hunted down grey and common seals. What a burden to carry around in the ocean depths – he was but a “common seal”.
Eventually, they snaffled a pup, with little ceremony, before we visited the majestic golden eagle.
Thence followed dormice, badgers, foxes, an oak tree planted before the Norman Conquest, and a fascinating discussion about the lack of hay meadows.
We were urged to resist mowing the lawn until July. I wouldn’t have counted myself as an environmentalist, but I’m in! Thank you, Sir David.
Then we witnessed literally thousands of migrant birds arriving from the north and south before a spectacular dogfight between a goose and a white-tailed eagle. It must have been a real horror show for twitchers. The goose was cooked despite a plucky showing. A classic in its class.
Speaking of class, Apple TV+ has done it again with the football comedy, Ted Lasso (Apple TV +), returning for a third series.
There was a new breakout star for me, Brett Goldstein’s player-turned-coach Roy Kent who has the menace of a low-level criminal thug with the looks of his very own Fifa avatar as he explained how the team was moving to 4-4-2. I didn’t understand either, but Roy is hilarious.
Elsewhere, a real Premier League club, West Ham, here owned by actor Anthony Head, get the sort of publicity money can’t buy – or can it, as fictional Richmond AFC want their new star player.
Can’t see anyone calling full-time on this show anytime soon.
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